Can Life Insurance Companies Access Your Genetic Test Results?

Today more and more people choose to have a genetic test done to see what risk of health implications they might have. Genetic testing shows, for example, that a certain individual is prone to Alzheimer’s disease, lung, skin or breast cancer.

Genetic testing results are confidential and may not be disclosed without proper authorization. The situation is not very clear when it comes to disclosing health information on an application for life insurance.

Must applicants for life insurance disclose their genetic testing results?

When individuals apply for life insurance coverage, insurance companies ask them to complete a very detailed application which has health and medical history questions.

Providing correct information on such applications is necessary to avoid denied and delayed life insurance claims. If an insured dies less than two years after the policy’s effective date, also known as life insurance contestability period, the policy will be contested – the insurance company will gather the insured’s medical records to make sure there were no material misrepresentations on the application.

If the insurance company finds evidence of undisclosed medical history and such misrepresentation is material to the risk assumed by the insurance company, the claim is likely to be denied.

In the past, life insurance applications did not have specific questions about genetic testing. In other words, they did not specifically require an applicant to disclose his/her genetic testing results.

That is likely to change now with advances in genetic testing and its ability to predict health risks. In response to these changes, life insurance companies may change their applications for coverage and may require applicants to disclose their genetic test results.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008[1] bars the use of genetic testing results for health insurance coverage risk assessment. It does not, however, prevent life insurance companies from using genetic information for life insurance, disability and long-term care coverage decisions.

Some states have enacted laws that protect life insurance applicants and bar insurance companies from using genetic information, but most states have not outright barred its use by insurance companies.

Access to genetic test results by insurance companies may mean more life insurance coverage denials, more life insurance claim denials and higher life insurance premiums.

On the other hand, wide use of genetic testing may prompt many more people to apply for disability insurance, long-term care insurance and life insurance. If you are seeking life insurance coverage and have questions about your genetic testing results, consult with one of our life insurance attorneys.

Our life insurance lawyers offer free initial consultations during which you can learn your rights and obligations when it comes to purchasing and maintaining life insurance.

At our law firm, we focus our practice on life insurance law and help individuals recover denied and delayed life insurance claims. If your claim has been denied due to material misrepresentations on the application for life insurance coverage, our attorneys will help you determine whether the insurance company properly interpreted the information in the insured’s record.

Call (888) 510-2212 for a free life insurance consultation.

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About the author

Attorney Tatiana Kadetskaya has over 10 years of experience in life insurance law representing beneficiaries and policy owners. She is best known for successfully collecting denied and delayed claims and settling complex beneficiary disputes and interpleader lawsuits.

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